Posted on 26 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Phi Brain



So, Phi Brain. A show that baffled me for the past year more than any other series, and it did so in many ways. It was the source of many frustrations, but also many surprises. When the first season started it seemed like just an ordinary shounen series with very good characters. Then a second season got announced and things started. The thing is that the first season was very conclusive and didn’t really leave many plot threats behind. On top of that, it was all about Kaito and his history, and it really had this storyline that used its main cast at its best. So how on earth were they going to top that?

Well indeed, the second season didn’t turn out to be as good as the first, but it did so for complete different reasons than what I imagined. The creators actually came up with a new set of very good villains here. The charm of the first season, it surprisingly good characterization: it stayed here. There was cheese, Oh GOD, there was cheese, but it used this cheese really well to create memorable villains and actually ended up very heart-warming with a very good chemistry between all of the different members of the cast. The themes were great and it ended with a satisfying climax that really exceeded my expectations. So what went wrong?

Well, the balance is all over the place. The thing is that the stories of the first and second season are about equal in size, but the way in which they spend their time is very different. The first season had random stories: a first half of completely unrelated stories to flesh out the cast. In the second season however, every episode is important to the plot in a direct way. The problem however is that this show doesn’t have the material to fill 25 episodes. The result? Well, four episodes of solving the exact same puzzle over and over again. In a series that prides itself with its creative puzzles, that indeed is as fun as it sounds.

On top of that, the way in which this series manages its cast in this season is really bizarre and questionable. It all works out in the end, but oh boy, it has a lot of hurdles. Most importantly, the central focus of the plot is brainwashing. The entire cast of villains is brainwashed into acting weird and illogical. You do not want to know how long it takes for this to get properly fleshed out and some actual depth, because this series has spent nearly its entire airtime to get to that point. At the start the characters come off as shallow stupid and illogical bastards.

And then there is the great cast of characters of the first season, who honestly have trouble figuring out what to do in the sequel here. In one way it’s good, because the characters who did not have a focus in the first season can now really shine here (with the best example being Ana Gram), but it also is a bit of a shame to see once strong characters wander around slightly aimlessly and looking for things to do. Gammon especially suffered here, but also Nonoha is pretty bad. She keeps wanting to do something, and yet the creators hardly ever let her, despite hinting at how she still is important. Only near the end does that start to matter, and in the meantime she is just there for the token female to cook dinner.

Beyond that, the usual issues with Phi Brain still stand: when you think about it, it just makes no bloody sense. Especially the way in which this series seems to think that you can hack anything and do some mumbo jumbo in order to gather data are really bad if you start thinking about it even once. This show just has a story to tell and doesn’t care how illogical it gets, and yet it does this better than the likes of Horizon, because the story it does end up telling becomes pretty damn good when it wants to and is actually focused. I mean you can say a lot about Phi Brain, but it has a damn good cast of characters.

Storytelling: 7/10 – You call that balance?! Riddled with issues, way too long (we’re at 50 episodes now and a third season has been announced!), yet surprisingly focused and well built up.
Characters: 8.5/10 – The saving grace for this series. Very good and heart-warming all around. A bit too heavy on the cheese though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Definitely not Sunrise’s dream team here, though it has its moments at the beginning and end where it looks really pretty.
Setting: 8.5/10 – I have to give points for this series: it took a setting that seemed impossible to make believable: people fight using puzzles and brainwash each other in order to evolve human kind. And it pulled it off. Sure it took a lot of trouble, but it did.

Suggestions:
The Law of Ueki
Spiral
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Posted on 26 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This episode thankfully wasn’t as bad as the previous episodes, and instead it was just a build-up. Unfortunately though, it showed a lot about the structure of this series and how much time it has actually wasted. But before I comment on that: we finally see Rook again… only to have him state the obvious and disappear again. Great use of him, guys!

Now, about this episode: it actually went back to the brainwashing again. Even though this disappeared for nearly half a season, here it is back like nothing happened. So yes, this series will turn Kaito’s friends against him. So really? What were those previous episodes about anyway? A random repetitive tournament that revealed the motivation of the Orpheus Order and a random beach episode. None of them really said anything about any of the characters, save for that very corny backstory and returning Nonoha back to the kitchen. They did absolutely nothing with the theme of brainwashing people

If these episodes were mentioned to flesh out the characters, then they pretty much failed because none of the characters emerged as better from those episodes and some of them even regressed and became more generic. Only this episode finally tried to delve deeper into the characters, even though it had plenty of annoying moments with everyone and his dog running for president. You could have made so much better use of these episodes. Take control of a few more side-characters; continue trying to recruit Gammon again by using his sister or something. Give Nonoha a puzzle she can actually solve. There was so much potential for these episodes. You obviously don’t care about having a puzzle in every episode so you could have taken one episode off to dedicate to the past of one of the characters.

I think it’s pretty clear by now: the first season was completely planned out when Sunrise suddenly came with the announcement for a second season. And my guess really is that the script was rushed in order to get the second season to continue immediately after the first season. Sunrise has very solid planners, so keeping the animation quality up was no problem. But thinking of a completely new series with complete new threats was way too much. This is especially the case considering that Sato Junichi switched from the director to the series composition: it’s very likely that he wrote this second season while directing the remaining episodes of the first season. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a shoddy writing-job from his side, because there are just too many things wrong with that string of six episodes.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 18 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The beach episode actually wasn’t done yet? We’re spending one more episode in that resort? Why, Phi Brain? Did you run out of ideas for a setting or something?

It’s a good thing that this episode had a completely different premise than last week. Although I am not really sure what the point of it all was. Basically, after more than thirty episodes Nonoha finally realizes that she doesn’t fit in with the other main characters. Even though there were plenty of people who also went along with the trip and who were also bad at puzzles that she could have hung out with.

In any case, tired of doing nothing but cooking, Nonoha finally realizes that she also wants to do something and starts to solve puzzles along with the rest of the main cast. This really is the chance for the creators to find something specific or unique that she’s good at. Midway through the episode, we are re-introduced to Nonoha’s amazing memory, which is the perfect ingredient for giving an extra bit of dynamic to solving the puzzles. Unfortunately, Nonoha doesn’t realize that, completely fails at any kind of new puzzle she’s handed, and ends up back in the kitchen where she started. And feminism marches on!

I really don’t get what the creators are doing with Nonoha here. I mean, she has a ton of potential to contribute, but she completely fails to use them. Compare this to a series as the Law of Ueki: that series had a similar character to Nonoha: Mori. She usually stood on the sidelines as the main supporting character as well, but once in a while the creators did put her in the spotlight by finding a situation which would allow her to be able to show off her character. The result was beyond awesome, among the highlights of the series and part of the reason why that turned into my favorite comedy ever. Compare that to Phi Brain, where Nonoha gets a mid-life crisis episode that doesn’t really go anywhere.

And here is the bizarre thing: it’s not that hard to show her potential. She is the most athletic member of the cast. Give her an action puzzle or something. Get her to save Kaito by having someone attack him or something. Or what about her incredible memory? Put her in a maze or something!

Instead of that, the most creative that the creators have done with her is making her swim for six hours, which is completely unrelated to anything that this series is about. In the first season, she had a clear purpose: give support to Kaito as he was losing his mind. That worked. In the second season Kaito still needs support, but now Cubic and Ana have taken over that role, rendering Nonoha’s part in this series completely useless. Out of all the places the creators could have gone with Nonoha, they chose that damn kitchen!
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 11 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Who the heck was behind this episode, and what on earth was he smoking while writing it?

This episode already started off bad by both having Elena transfer into the Root Academy, and being a beach episode. I did not expect it to be such a bizarrely written one, though. I’m not sure whether this was in a good way, because what made it so bizarre was the incredibly stupid ideas behind it.

So, let me get this straight… the POG actually owned another tropical island. They used that for filming a giant monster movie named “puzzla”, and they still keep some of the props, including a giant monster model, hidden in a cave on that island. Where the hell did that come from? Why would that professor Pythagoras have ordered a thing like that?

The more I think about this episode, the more I realize that it really is quite bad. I mean, on one hand I guess the stupidity was funny and all, but on the other hand: it actually nullified some of the development that has been handed to the characters. There is that bizarre movie plan from the POG, but also:
– This episode had everyone going crazy from puzzle withdrawal, including Cubic and Ana, even though the two of them weren’t really passionate about puzzles. In the series we mostly see them paint and do science stuff respectively. This episode lumped their character way too much together.
– Elena also gets reduced to a generic side-character. Remember in the first season how there were hints of a romance between her and Gammon Well, this episode apparently didn’t.

Episodes like this are supposed to give the characters more colour, not make them grayer!

Some more comments:
– Apparently this show forgot that lock-picking is also a puzzle.
– Being in puzzle withdrawal is one thing. Gammon however has made plenty of puzzles for himself. Really, it’s not that hard to make them and instead the characters decide to go into that bizarre puzzla chase.
– Nonoha swimming for six hours and fishing up the key that Elena threw away is just plain bad.
– Death to slide-show montages!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 4 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This was just bizarre. It seems that the editorial department realized that the writing staff intended to have the same puzzle in five episodes in a row, and they probably were just in time to salvage this and reduce the whole time of this arc by one episode by having the last match be a team-up. The thing is, that Sato Junichi most likely wrote this (he went from being the director in the first season to writing the series composition in the second season). He should know better, right?

And yeah. I didn’t think it was possible, but the creators actually provided an explanation for all of the other complaints I’ve been having over the past episode: nobody can think straight because they’re consumed by these orpheus rings. That’s why every villain is gay for Kaito, they make such ridiculous leaps in logic and have these extremely out of place mood changes that seem to come from out of nowhere.

And with this, the goal of this series has changed from “defeat the orpheus order” to “save the orpheus order”. Now, the question remains whether or not it’s interesting to watch an entire season dedicated to mentally deranged villains. It’s impossible to relate to them in any case, so instead this show is really going to have to develop these guys as victims instead.

The big potential pitfall is going to be making the ofpheus bracelets god-moded: justify every stupid leap in logic through them and relaying every dumb or over the top statement that these guys make just on “they weren’t thinking straight”. It takes away all character from the orpheus order, and it’s just lazy storytelling: normally writers have to take suspense of disbelief into account, and have characters acting reasonable. If you’re going to play with mental issues, do so with rules and structure, and don’t just blame everything on the “stupid virus”.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 28 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 22 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

And from out of nowhere this episode reveals the big motivation for Freecell. And to be honest… it’s kindof lame. I mean, it’s clear now that in this series there are quite a few characters gay for Kaito, but this guy’s reason for being so seems to be the flimsiest of the bunch.

So, to recap: in the Crossfield academy Kaito stood out as a genius, amongst all the other kids who were being pushed to be the next Phi Brain. We know that Kaito had a really difficult time there: he lost his parents and suddenly was placed to some random school he didn’t know; it was Rook who probably got him back up to his feet.

During that time, he talked to Freecell exactly once, and promised to meet and play again. He broke that promise because it happened on the same day that Rook disappeared, which is logical. On the same day, Freecel’s mother died and because he was sad that Kaito didn’t meet him, his was sad to see him sad and so she died unhappy. And Freecell has been unable to move on for 10 years, to the point of devoting his entire life to get back at him.

Of course, things aren’t as simple as “this episode made no sense”. After all, these characters were kids. This episode raised some amazing points that really should not be overlooked: forcing kids to perform beyond everything, and neglecting to let them evolve emotionally. From the looks of it, the POG did not care about this at all and was such an unhealthy environment for kids to grow up, with the result of mental delusions. This builds further upon what the first season started, and it also showed how hard Jin’s task was to get everything under control: he could give guidance to kids like Kaito, but there were much more kids that he ignored. Probably because he was doing this in secret so his actions had to be limited. This is something I actually really like: the kids who were forgotten and not as lucky as Kaito.

The thing that bugs me lies in the storytelling and how it took some very convenient loops. First of all: having the mother die at exactly the right moment is a tad too convenient here. But my biggest beef: Kaito only talked to Freecell once. That’s all. There is no reason for this to have such a significant impact on Freecell. There was no time to develop their relationship. Losing your mother is a terrible thing, but even taking that into account I find it hard to believe that Freecell would bear a lifelong grudge against someone who made him sad on the day that his mother died.

Rook was an awesome villain because he had time to spend with Kaito: he changed. Freecell’s entire character is dominated by this revenge. The upcoming episodes will need to fix that and give him an actual character.

And on a side-note, Phi Brain: you disappoint me. Are you really planning to have five subsequent episodes, focusing on the same puzzle? That’s just lazy.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 16 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Okay, so in the end the whole brainwashing subplot was all just a build-up. It wasn’t meant to give depth to the entire cast with its formula, but instead it was meant to show the Orpheus order as a formidable foe, explain what they were doing and why they were doing it. The fact that two side-characters got fleshed out was just a neat side-effect.

Instead this has very much the tendencies of a mystery story: inbetween the puzzles it really slowly continues to reveal a bit more about the Orpheus order. This episode was about Cubic again, who always struck me as the least interesting member of the cast. He’s genuine, but in comparison to the rest of the characters he lacks something. It probably has to do with how he is this series’ plot device: if something needs to be explained, he just goes “science!”, and things somehow become clear. This episode was about this too. The punchline of this episode was that he lost, yet he did manage to gather “data” which will somehow be of importance later. It’s all very vague, in a series that thrives on math.

In any case, this seems to be an arc in which the Orpheus order will show a bit more about their true characters; a way to flesh them out, in having a tournament-style match-up. I do wonder why Nonoha forced herself into the picture though, especially when Jikugawa would have been a much more sane choice to bring along. Right now she has no role in this series. Her role in the first searon was clear: support Kaito as he was having the living brains kicked out of him. Right now though.. Kaito doesn’t really need help… yet.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 7 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

I like how this series pretends that it’s got the plot of a series that’s fifteen years old, taking a formula only to nearly immediately deviate from it again. I really thought that for now we’d just get a string of episodes that would feature the POG taking control of some side-character. Instead, they are making visible progress in their goals. And this episode was all about Gammon.

And yeah, this was the best episode of the second season so far. Gammon just got even better. At first I didn’t really know where it was going to go to when Gammon was suddenly invited to join the Orpheus Order, especially since Gammon generally joins the side that is against the side that pisses him off the most. But then it turns out that this was actually a follow-up on last week after which the Orpheus Order tried to get ahold of his sister. She’s fine now as they lost interest in her, but this really made an impact on Gammon. This episode was meant for him to resolve this and emerge as a better character instead.

And in the end this episode made use of the first season, relating back to the time Kaito and Gammon first met by having Kaito play for a Giver for once. Gammon was hilarious to watch by being thrown off his element like that, and I also really liked how Kaito did things for a completely different reason (he was pissed off at Gammon himself). It was very refreshing to have these two actually play each other’s roles for a change. It was an awesome way to flesh them out.

Having said that though, the characters in this series are idiots. In a way, the Orpheus Order might have gotten Gammon to join them. Hell, if they paid him for it he probably would have done so. But what on earth made that Doubt-guy think that he’d still join them.. after they openly threatened the life of his sister? Gammon on the other hand: I know that you gained control over your own anger again at the end of this episode. But still: you know the location of people who openly endanger innocent people… and you don’t use it?! Why?
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on 30 April 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

You know, the actual goal of the orpheus order isnt’ bad at all. If they can figure out the kinks in the Orpheus bracelet and remove the parts that destroy the wearer’s brains, it could mean a very good way for humanity to evolve, and it’s certainly better than “let’s have humanity evolve by killing everyone.” It’s just that their methods are questionable, having them resort to use involuntary human guinea pigs who can easily die when things go wrong.

Also, this episode broke up the formula that the first episodes tried to set already: Gammon prevented his sister from getting brainwashed. Still, you could say that this all was part of the plans in order to challenge Kaito to a puzzle. This episode pretty much failed for the Orpheus order, because the reason why Kaito nearly became “Phi Brain” was by putting him under constant stress. That’s very hard to do with five of them together like that, supporting each other. Also, this episode revealed all of their names, and they are indeed as weird as the rest of the cast. The main villain of this series is a random card game.

In any case, the bad thing of breaking up this formula is that we didn’t really get to see much more about Gammon’s sister. The most logical solution for this will be that the Orpheus order will find some other way to use her. Can they keep these methods fresh enough for the entire side-cast?
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
K-Off
everything from the creative cinematography to the plot points happening exactly where they need to happen. That's not what I feel Chan Wook's more honest work are. JSA, Old boy, Thirst, all have a comparatively less method approach to them, and they tackle stories and character relationships far more entangled thab Bong's works ever did.
K-Off
Some of Wook's recent work don't hold up very well, at least for the ones I've seen, and I'd agree that in creating masterpieces with brilliant social relevancy, Bong is that much better at it. But the styles are much more different than they appear I feel. For one, certainly everything in Bong's films are meticulously planned paintings, with
SuperMario
... Bong's works they are just inferior in terms of writing. Park is better at writting memorable characters thou
SuperMario
@K-Off: I personally believe these two are the greatest working Korean directors right now (despite my love for Hong Sang Soo's body of works). For Park, I LOVE his cinematography, every single shot feel like a painting for me. Although in terms of writing only Join Security Area and Oldboy are layered; other works writing feel so loose for me. Not that they are bad, but when you compare them to..
K-Off
Chan Wook is brilliant as well...Joint Security Area, Thirst, so fucking good. My favorite korean films are composed entirely of those two's works.
K-Off
Mother was amazing, definitely second after Memories. Both continue to amaze me every time I watch them and I feel like I pick up on something new every time I do. Not many murder-thrillers even come close to those two.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Mother floored me when I first watched it and it's my personal favorite film out of his. The only film I haven't watched from him was Barking Dogs, his debut. Was it great?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Bong continues to mix elements successfully but it can’t be in the same league as Memories, barking dogs and The host, I did like it more than mother however which I unfortunately found to be a kind of dull film (I need to see it again, as I watched it when I was new to Korean cinema).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It sells the viewer on the relationship between the girl and the animal successfully in away a cynical old man like me can like =P With the kid in mind, its not often enough we get tolerable child actors, she did a good job. It has that well executed sentimentalism the Koreans are good at.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While it does have some pretty clunky dialogue, ends conveniently and can get close to being too juvenile, having finished Okja, it generally comes off as a high level 90s kids flick that once it gets going keeps things rolling, you can watch it for Swinton and Gylennhall hamming/camping it up and there is an element of fun there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It really is a great feeling being in an arthouse cinema surrounded by anime fans watching an anime film, the mood and vibe of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On piratebay. I've actually only seen the nightmare fuel scenes in Gen but shocking stuff. I'd probably go with silent voice perhaps for the simple reason I felt it more.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: man. Okja already available online? Really looking forward to that one
SuperMario
@Kaiser: great. I get the feeling that in term of scope, In this Corner is more akin to Barefoot Gen than Graves of Fireflies. So how would you compare it with A Slient Voice? Which one you prefer?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Currently downloading okja.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Basically I thought, especially since the manga was only three chapters long the movie could have benefited from a tighter runtime but made up for it by being emotionally involving.
I’m content with giving it three stars and its made me want to spend my weekend watching films multiple about Hiroshima.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: allowing them to deliver on the emotions promised because the film spends so much time on her daily life.
I liked how the voice acting didn’t really feel like anime voice acting. You sort of get used to the character designs eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: This film, early on had many slice of lifey moments that I felt mixed on, on one hand they border on a bit plodding/slight, yet the comedy bits they put in actually kind of amuses, despite them going on too long, it allows you to get attached to this woman for when the sad parts show up ,
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As I said recently , today would be the day I saw in this corner of the world, I just got back from it.
I’ll start by saying that I don’t feel its worthy of the 5 stars its receiving, nor would it hold up to Kuroi Ame by Imamura Shohei or Takahata’s grave of the fireflies.
Anonymous1218982
KT here: Next RE:Creators episode seems to be a gag episode. Not sure how I feel, though obviously the creators need a break.
SuperMario
yeah, usually 1 small arc = 2 to 3 episodes. We have 3 mini arc left so I would say about 6 episodes
AidanAK47
Actually from what I hear, there isn't enough material left in Owarimonogatari to make a full course. Seems like it's one volume with would equal 6 episodes at best.
AidanAK47
Like hell. There's about five more Monogataris to adapt. Anyway it's not that you are not getting it but rather instead of one cour it's going to be all aired within two days as specials. The runtime of the specials is up for debate but you are still getting it.
SuperMario
the loss of the FINAL one, you mean.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I wouldn't grin evilly about it but there's like over ten Monogatari animes. Kinda hard to be sad over the loss of one.
SuperMario
According to ANN, this new Owarimonogatari will be a special 2-day events, which honestly I don't know what that even means. Most of you might grin your evil grin right now but I'm crying inside with that news.
SuperMario
The LWA finale didn't do much for me sadly. Croi's roles as a main antagonist is just not good. And I feel like in the end I don't know much about Suzy or Lotte. I think the worse episode for me was the one right after the twist about why Akko can't perform magic, because it's as Aidan said
KT
Thus Little Witch Academia comes to an end. I will miss it. Despite the mistake IMHO of the Croix Arc, this was a good series, and the last episode went back to the very elements that made me love it at the start. It was a happy series, and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in some hard times. I thank it for it. It could had been exceptional, but I guess they wanted to try something more.Ah well.
AidanAK47
Really glad they used that Scarborough fair song one last time before the finale. I really love that song.
Anonymous1215349
SukaSuka's finale was beautiful, a great way to end a great anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I guess the big question I have is, do the character interactions coupled with what assume will be some kind of tragedy element work together well enough to make the viewer care and invest in the characters?
AidanAK47
So that's the end of SukaSuka. Better than I thought it would be. Honestly didn't give it enough of a chance in my preview. As far as light novel adaptions go it's above average. Though it does still suffer from it's cliches. Nothing outstanding but a worthwhile watch nontheless.
Anonymous1214845
Have you seen Shonen Jump is making an international manga contest? https://medibang.com/jumpplus/entry/
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you know it when you see it. At first I didn't believe they jumped the shark, but based on the events after that twist, yep it has settled for something much cheaper imo.
Lenlo
For Bahamut, im still enjoying it and we have another cour to go. I think it, and the first Bahamut, are good shows. For Kado, im only on ep 4 so im very curious what shark gets jumped
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think given the pace I'll watch 1-2 or 2-3 episodes of re creators instead of once a week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the end Bahamut suffered the same fate as the first one, I could never call it a bad show, I just never ended up feeling it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've given my thoughts on tsuki ga kirei before on here but I'll add by saying that I never expected it and uchouten 2 (despite the weak wrap up I liked the lead up) to be my favourite of the season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
About five years ago or so could have seen myself really having been in the mood for LWA.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wasn't as impressed with Uchoutens finale as Mario was,I found myself more annoyed by how clumsily done it all was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me kado jumped the shark with its latest direction and Aidans review along with flicking through this weeks episode kind of confirms I'm done with the show. A show I was initially unsure of but thought might become something.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Yeah....at least LWA's finale was pretty good and I think there's a possibility of a second season. With the Criox/Chariot plot line out of the way I say they could really bank on it's potential. Even if they don't, this series was still quite enjoyable.
Anonymous1211365
Man I couldn't agree more with Aidan about LWA and Kado. I still like and enjoy Kado but damn it could have been so much more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ntr trap appears to be a non-seinen/shounen yuri manga given its publication magazine.
Vonter
Not all people work as fast, but that's what companies expect nowadays. Which is why CGI is preferred over practical effects. Or even why anime has used more 3D that painted backgrounds, cars or other props that take time and work to be drawn.
Vonter
No. I get deadlines are tough. Companies and customers want everything made as fast as humanly possible, yet reality is that making things good takes time and money. I wouldn't be surprised that's why Berserk comes out every 6 months, the art is too detailed and the story is slow paced. Yet the anime was planned to be made in a year or two so it's evident either way, crunch is expected.
Lenlo
I think you misunderstood what he meant when he said the industry was a mess. Mangaka routinely work themselves into a hospital because of the demanding schedule
Vonter
Then there's the franchise appeal. Which inherently gains something because of persistence, awareness and name. It is hard when great visual effort is mainly put in things that are guaranteed to be a hit, because original stuff tend to make mistakes to find their own identity. Which in itself makes them very risky affairs.
Vonter
It's also a heavy flaw of the internet, having mainly binary opinions of good or bad. Which makes it hard to tell if you'll like something in the 7s like Nier or Alien 3 (might not be a 7 but opinions make it sound like it is). Divisive products that may or not may suit one's tastes.
Vonter
Personally I think the issue has become what suits your tastes, what are you willing to give a chance and what hits beyond the medium it is presented.
Vonter
@AidanAK47 "Manga in general is great but Jesus Christ the industry is a mess". - I mean, movies, games, and other entertainment have the same issue, since everyone has a big slice of the pie, yet there are like a million things competing for one's attention.
SuperMario
On that note, apart from the 3 shows I'n currently covering (Eccentric Family, Tsuki ga Kirei and ID-0), I will give a full review on Grimoire of Zero, a show that I feel rather difficult to pinpoint exactly on its quality.
SuperMario
Can't believe we approaching the final week of this current season. Gonna be a busy week of blogging with the usual weekly posts plus the final impressions.
SuperMario
@Anon1206174: I agree with you on both counts. And Sakura Quest has never been bad, but it could have been deeper and less messy. If you plan to watch ID-0 (I suggest you do), don't get your expectation too high because it works much better when you expect nothing of it. Like each episode I was genuinely surprised how good ID-0 actually is.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember one of Aidan's visual novel posts where he said theres potentially hundreds of VNs un-translated and LNs too, makes me wonder just how much un-translated manga we are missing out on.
Anonymous1206174
The ID-o posts sound pretty interesting, I am really thinking of dropping Sakura and watching this instead. Really loved the beginnign of Sakura and that abandoned town atmosphere it had, but I am not feeling it anymore. The recent episode about Shiori was great again though..
Kaiser-Eoghan
*looking
Then again he's an extremely forgetable person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh Godammit, looing back over my comments I meant to say Souta not Setsuna, I suck at remembering non-English names.
Anonymous1205999
Meh - I really like this season but I already have my first cases of 'good-show-disappointing-ending/second half'
Anonymous1206022
KT Here:RE:Creators , we need to know more about the rules for Altair to see if that works. It might, and it might not. With what they know they have a good plan. But I was thinking why not just do a Super Smash Bros type game with the characters? I am sure that would generate enough stuff in order to lock her.
SuperMario
On Re:Creators, I find a better solution instead of going all cross-media like the show suggests. Someone could just make some fan-fiction on Altair that purposely show her weakness (like get busted when expose to the sun, or the magic word that render her skills useless). Less efforts, more effective
SuperMario
Man, I agree wholeheartedly with what KT said here: mass media actually sells, so it keeps the industry to a more stable position; then the art-house/more adult oriented anime can have some freedom to do what they like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its more that I have to read it all at the same time as expecting action to come , it might change my mind if I watched it in English.
Anonymous1205580
KT here: I accept the mass media because it raises the funds for the less mainstream stuff I like. That is how I make my peace.

On RE:Creators. I get what you guys say. But for some reason I do not find the exposition heavy in this series. Every person has his own limit I guess
Alonaria
@Kaiser: Yep, that sounds about right, lol. I take my Sheldon in concentrated doses. I might give the Young Sheldon spin off an episode or two because it's highly exaggerated but still somewhat relatable to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel big bang theory is a show for people who know nothing about nerds/nerd culture to find funny.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And then theres this thing about Sheldon being some kind of autism spectrum thing , which is kind of annoying to hear when I am on the spectrum myself and never really found the character all that amusing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Probably not the strongest reason to go off a show but, it was people around me going on and on about big bang theory that eventually put me off it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
lol is it any surprise Miura and the hunter x hunter guy take so many breaks =P
Alonaria
*Sheldon
Alonaria
I pick and choose Big Bang episodes that I enjoy. Shelden in the ball pit never ceases to amuse me. Still, it's definitely overrated haha.
Lenlo
IT Crowd > Modern Big Bang. Early Big Bang was good.

And yes, the work conditions in the Manga Industry are terrible. Oda, One Piece Mangaka, works stupid hours. He requests his assistances be "Willing to die for One Piece" because of the amount of work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And hell yeah"! someone else thats hates on big bang theory.
IT crowd > big bang.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*more safer
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yet now here I am at same time, I think it might be kind of a shame that I can't see the value and fun anymore in some less safer offerings.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I thinking I might go insane if I looked up comments defending the visuals in occultic; nine.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hate to say it but sometimes opinions, mainstream ones are actually wrong. Its a fact that superhero films have bad action scenes and cinematography and Hardboiled, a chinese action film is better filmed in terms of choreography.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As dickish as this is to say, I really do recoil when ssomeone says something like the Notebook or fifty shades is the best film of all time/their favourite.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See theres also factoring in the people whos favourite film or anime of all is the most recent they finished.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember mentioning recently that I was re-watching the twilight zone, the response I got was "I thought that you were talking about twilight"
Kaiser-Eoghan
See thats whats so great about being able to talk about more niche stuff online, theres an easier to find common ground.
AidanAK47
In general when it comes to mass popular opinion it's the tried and true safe stuff that ends up selling. The highest selling Mario games are the New Super Mario ones. The same generic Light novel and harems keep selling. There are plenty of examples but majority opinion tends to gravitate to the safe and familiar.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See, most (offline) people (and or teenagers)who aren't really all that interested in film or don't look into it that much will turn out for things like fifty shades, transformers or twilight, thats why those are popular. Most people aren't going to watch something made more than a few years ago or subtitled.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh...lol fuck thats a blunder...yes I meant Re:creators.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But by all means, people are fully entitled to like what they like. But there is a reason why so much rubbish gets popular.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Re:Creators.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As someone who would actually consider themselves creative and interested in things being imaginative I really do hate the whole anti-creativity /anti-art, anti-intelligence movement and way of thinking that allows un-deservedly popular things like what Aidan mentioned to fester.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yes Re:zero's poor pacing and leaden dialogue is becoming too dominant and there should be more action, its good Setsuna opened up, but I still don't particularly like him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine the magazines/editors probably consider themselves the writers sometimes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pretty sure I only read nisekoi because I was keeping up with conversations about it, then dropped it before the Chitoge doublie showed up, just stopped reading.
AidanAK47
On the matter of Re:Creators, I feel the same as the Anon said. I find the exposition to just drone on far too much.
AidanAK47
On the matter of the manga industry being shit...it is. Manga in general is great but Jesus Christ the industry is a mess. Work conditions are utterly abhorrent and it's even worse that most series live or die based on a magazine popularity poll.
Because just because something is popular, does not mean it is quality. Example: Transformers, Twilight, Fifty shades, Sword Art Online, Big Bang theory
AidanAK47
@Anon, Still not getting your logic here. I mean if I have a problem with it after trying it then why am I not allowed to complain about it? Anyway it is only popular for the pandering. Even those who like Nisekoi admit that it's a mediocre harem and they mainly enjoy the waifu wars on the internet.
SuperMario
and now we will resort to illegal streaming sites for this one. "Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem", this f*cking true
SuperMario
Huh? Welcome to the Ballroom Anime Gets Amazon Prime-Only Streaming Inside and Outside Japan. Now that just unbearable
SuperMario
Don't know about this new Re:Creators episode since I haven't watched it, but I don't really mind Meteora. Her dialogues scream "exposition" but she still fits well to the story. The fights are good, I agree, but why didn't they go all the way with the world's collapse last episode?
Anonymous1202407
Whether Nisekoi is pandering or not, it is not enough proof for you to suggest that manga industry is shit. If u want good mainstream then its not that hard to find. Also for every success like Nisekoi which u claim to be pandering, there are dozen like it that failed to be popular. Why? Because it clearly is popular for a reason other than just simple pandering.
SuperMario
Ha, Ping Pong. I need that kind of show again in my life.
Lenlo
Also, Ping Pong is amazing.
Lenlo
Theres a difference between pandering to a large audience, and an anime/manga with a quality story that everyone ends up liking. Ive always found moe shows and things like Nisekoi to be the former.
Anonymous1202407
If you have a problem with it after trying it just dont read it. Its that simple. Also what a surprise that a show like nisekoi that appeals to a large demographic is popular. U want the mangaka to apologize it's not some art house story like Ping Pong?
Lenlo
Meteora is pretty hit or miss with her dialogue imo. Sometimes its great, othertimes its not. I can say though I enjoy most of the fights.
Anonymous1202113
I really want to like Re:Creators. To be honest though, I'm getting tired of the dialogue. It has its high points, but it sometimes just seems to drone on and on, especially with all of Meteora's "hypotheses."
KT
Both Bahamut and RE:Creators had great episodes. But I was indeed mentally screaming Super Smash Bros at RE:Creators. You will get the point when you watch the episode.
AidanAK47
Taken on it's own, Nisekoi is harmless. But it is undeniably proof that you need not be creative or innovative to succeed in the industry. In fact declaring creative bankruptcy could turn more fruitful than genuine effort.
AidanAK47
And I said how can you decide you don't like something if you haven't read it?
Of course you are likely mean that if you don't like something then give up on reading it further which of course does not mean that someone cannot complain about it regardless.
Anonymous1198985
No, Im said if you dont like nisekoi dont read it
AidanAK47
@Anon, How do you know you don't like it if you don't read it?
Anonymous1196967
Don't like it don't read it.
AidanAK47
I went and read Double Arts. This really was a great manga with tons of potentail and truly didn't deserve the axe. It's so depressing that this was cut off so soon and the author went on to make the most generic Harem ever Nisekoi, and that got over 200 chapters.
Lenlo
All of the important dance scenes for Yuri were fantastic, its just some minor one off characters and some reused ones that were an issue, so no they are better than the CGI
Anonymous1190387
Is it worse than those CGI dance scenes in some anime?
AidanAK47
@Puran, It is pretty surprising how well that story turns out. I say IG might do the job even if there animation isn't the most consistent. The one thing I am worried about is those necks though. In the PV those things were ridiculously long.
Puran
Fair enough, recycling the animation was bad, agreed. But the animation itself was really good.
Lenlo
See, I found the repeated dances in Yuri one of the worse parts. Alot of it was recycled animation and certain characters were obviously rushed/not done. Some were amazing, cause they took their time, but others looked terrible.
Puran
I kinda wish Mappa was doing the anime though. Yuri on Ice had really nicely animated dances (and was more or less the only actually good quality of that show :P )
Puran
Reading the Ballroom e Youkoso manga has made me really excited about the Anime.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Aidan: I'm particularly turned off by bully/bullying cliches these days. I've only read the first two volumes to see how awful she was but I ended up simply losing track of the series and stopped reading.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Mario: Actually that has changed, I had to pick a different day to see it given changes in schedule, I've booked it for NEXT Wednesday now. I've watched Akira about four times.
AidanAK47
Oh, Rising of the Shield Hero is getting an anime adaption. Hmmm...honestly after finishing the series and looking over it as a whole I am not sure I even want that. Plus seeing Bitch Animated...would fill me with rage.
SuperMario
I intend to re-watch Akira soon, probably this weekend. It has been almost 10 years since my first watch and now I don't remember much about that one. Thought it was intriguing and complex but not as acclaimed as people hyped it to be (I'll pick Ghost in the Shell anytime). Wonder how I'd feel now after re-watching it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I remember you mentioned that you were going to watch In this Corner of the World today right? How was the movie Kaiser?
Lenlo
Oh cool, food wars is getting a 3rd season
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ballroom youkoso appears to be leading the polls.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fumiko is a female mangaka yes. Also I found bokura no hentai worth reading.
SuperMario
yep, I finished that manga too and I have conflicted feeling about it. Yuri(!) part and fanservice are to blatant but they have a purpose. This mangaka (not sure but I think she's a girl) has some unique voice.
AidanAK47
....well I skimmed that manga. And it was weird
SuperMario
By all appearances,Sakura is normal,albeit sheltered junior high school girl who enjoy talking about love and walking home from school together.However,they also happen to inhabit a strange and supernatural world populated by mysterious,gigantic beings and unusual plant and animal life.Amid their peaceful lives,Sakura becomes very interested in something only alluded to exist in old books: dicks
SuperMario
Here's a synopsis of other manga from the same author, I think you'll have a better idea of his theme -
Sakura no Sono
AidanAK47
Pretty much what Masky said. I am not really praising it. Anyway I plan to read one or two more chapters to see where it's going. But if it's going in the direction I think it's going then I am dropping this one fast.
Kaiser_Eoghan
There is of course the underlying concern that it will go a very ugly route with that development or it could become edgy/horribly minipulative, but for now it is as mario said, a hook.
SuperMario
Well. overall I don't dislike what I read there. It has good hook and I'm intrigued to know more what the hell will happen. Good set-up for me. I'm in
SuperMario
@Masky: it's fine Masky, since I will chec itk out any way and see it for myself ^^
Masky
So since you guys started being interested, I checked it out and uh.. Yeah, not reading. I think ye guys misunderstood Aidans warnings since that was just fucked up and not in the interesting way.
Lenlo
@Aidan: Berserk will never again go more than 3-4 months without a hiatus.
SuperMario
Hmmm, that manga Cutie Mutie sounds good to me. I might check it out later today
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: But had you not alluded to that scene, I may have seen the cover of that manga and skipped over it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I had a feeling, sort of, sad, I am intrigued to read more.
AidanAK47
Hyping and warning are not the same thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well with Aidan hyping up the horrors of cutie mutie I may as well glance at it to see what he' on about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are three manga with the name rec.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am familiar with the artist for cutie mutie, she did that manga about the three kids dealing with gender/orientation issues.
AidanAK47
Oh look Berserk is on Haitus again....
.....the sad thing is that it comes as expected now.
AidanAK47
For reference the two I read were Cutie Mutie and Rec. Be warned, the first one goes to a rather uncomfortable level.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Read two manga. One started lighthearted and then went to really dark territory. The other one looks like it's about a really dark subject but turned out to be something more lighthearted.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Alright. Tested it now so it such be fixed. Try again.
Masky
@Aidan: Huh? What you read that turned dark/didn't turn dark? .-.
SuperMario
"too many answers selected for question 1! only 3 answers allowed!"
SuperMario
@Aidan: I still have the same issues. Weird
AidanAK47
@Mario, Wasn't my intent. Try it now and you should be able to pick as many as you want.
Total users: 22

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